HOUSTON (Feb. 12, 2010) The link between obesity and high-risk pregnancies caused by preeclampsia and diabetes will be the focus of a $2.4 million National Institutes of Health research grant received by Sean Blackwell, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Researchers hope the observational study will provide them with a better understanding of the cause, diagnosis and history of preeclampsia and diabetes in pregnant women and whether or not obese pregnant women and non-obese pregnant women are at the same risk of having complications during their pregnancy.
"We hope our findings from this study will be used to develop effective treatments and therapies and have the potential to save lives," said Blackwell, lead investigator of the grant and director of the Larry C. Gilstrap Center for Perinatal and Women's Health Research at the UT Medical School at Houston.
Preeclampsia is a leading cause of fetal complications including low birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth and is the second leading cause of maternal death in the United States. Signs of preeclampsia include increased blood pressure and protein in a mother's urine as a result of kidney problems, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can affect the placenta and the mother's kidney, liver and brain. The NIH estimates preeclampsia causes 15 percent of premature births and leads to the death of more than 50,000 women each year. The only effective treatment for preeclampsia is to immediately deliver the baby.
Diabetes affects two to ten percent of all pregnancies and can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Women with gestational diabetes and high blood glucose levels during pregnancy increase the risk of having a large baby and cesarean birth.
|Contact: Jade Waddy|
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston